Oakley Mayor Responds to East Contra Costa Fire District Letter Over Development Fees

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The following is a response by Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick in response to a 10-page letter issued by the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District on Friday.

The Fire District, on behalf of its Board of Directors, issued a 10-page letter to the city council which highlights the actions by the City of Oakley are degrading the fire districts ability to provide fire service–the letter was made available in its board packet which will be discussed in more detail on Wednesday (Oct. 14).

According to the letter, the City’s practice of permitting additional development without ensuring that new development generates sufficient capital and operating revenue to mitigate the costs of increased demand for fire and medical emergency response and fire prevention services hinders the District’s ability to provide such services to the District’s 128,000 residents.

Statement by Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick
As Mayor, I appreciate this opportunity to provide my response to a letter recently sent to the City by the East Contra Costa Fire District. As many of you may not know, I served as President and Board member of the District and understand well the financial predicament the District finds itself in.
The Oakley City Council will be meeting tomorrow night in Closed Session and a more formal statement can be made thereafter, but I wanted to provide some initial facts in response to the District’s letter:
  • The City of Oakley has NOT been reluctant to form Community Facility Districts, or CFDs, that create annual OPERATIONAL revenue for the Fire District. In fact, Oakley is the ONLY entity in the District that has created and established a Fire CFD that provides the much-needed operational revenues; and, now 16 developments in Oakley have already signed on to participate. Brentwood nor the County has created a Fire CFD to support the operational costs of the District, and the District itself has yet to create a CFD. Oakley has been leading this effort to provide additional operational funding to the Fire District.
  • The building that Amazon will occupy at the Logistics Center and the other building under construction paid the FULL Fire Impact Fee that will go toward future facility needs of the District. Contrary to what is said in the District’s letter, the Fire impact fee was NOT waived on the project. The future buildings on site will also pay the Fire Impact Fee. The District wants the City to charge a higher impact fee for future buildings, but this project was in the works and approved well before the District proposed a higher impact fee in March of this year. The City cannot legally or morally go back and arbitrarily change the impact fee after this project was approved.
  • One might ask why a large project in Brentwood, such as the Streets of Brentwood, didn’t charge a higher impact fee or an on-going CFD. The answer is that a higher fee or CFD was not in place when that project was approved. That is the same situation with the Logistics Center in Oakley. The Logistics Center is paying ALL of the applicable fees.
  • The building occupied by Amazon and other buildings at the Logistics Center will create an ANNUAL tax revenue to the Fire District of over $400,000. That revenue will go to the Fire District EACH year to support the on-going operations of the District. These funds will go to the District because this development took place, not to mention all the jobs that are created for the community.
  • Fire Station 55 located at the end of E. Cypress Rd has recently been completed. The developer of the Summer Lake project had previously agreed to pay for the station when the Subdivision was complete. Before design and construction of the project the developer negotiated a smaller station with the District than what was originally contemplated. The developer’s payment only covered the cost of that smaller fire station. After the City had bid the project and a leadership change at the District, the District requested that the new station be bigger and that a large vehicle storage building be included in the project. To accomplish this, the District contributed $1.9M toward the project. This was NOT a loan to the City, but a contribution to the station that would become the District’s building – it is not the City’s fire station.
  • As part of the negotiation with the developer the Fire District also agreed to waive the Fire Impact Fees, or any other type of existing or future fee, tax or assessment relating to fire services that can be imposed for the upcoming Summer Lake North development.
  • In the last 9 years, the City of Oakley has built two fire stations for the District. Those stations are now assets for the District and do not belong to the City. None have been built by Brentwood or the County.
  • It appears that with this letter the City of Oakley is being held to a higher standard than one that applies to the County, the City of Brentwood and to the District itself.
Again, we look forward to the City Council’s complete and joint statement that will come later this week. THANK YOU !!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Excuses are like a.. and elbows everyone’s got one. The fact remains that Brentwood, Oakley, and the County have failed miserably in covering the fire district when approving new development. There are letters, meetings, phone calls begging these entities to recognize /mitigate the revenue shortage and address it with each new development. The big three Brentwood , Oakley , and Contra Costa County have failed East County residents. They need to stop development or seek a remedy for our Fire Services funding to meet state standards. It is that important. No more excuses. The

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